Danger zone: Was Indy Kahne's last chance to race way into Chase?
Even though he had a great run at last Sunday's Brickyard 400, Kasey Kahne still is winless in 2014.
Kasey Kahne has made the Chase in each of his two previous seasons with Hendrick Motorsports.
Jeff Zelevansky / Getty Images North America
By Jeff Hammond
Even though he had a great run at last Sunday's Brickyard 400, Kasey Kahne still is winless in 2014. He's 14th in points. He only has four top-five and only nine top-10 finishes in 20 races this year. While I like that group over there at the No. 5 car, I still honestly believe there is something missing.
Indy was a perfect example of what I am talking about. People always are saying they were so close, just like they were Sunday. That's the problem. They are close, but when it counts the most they haven't been able to make it happen. They haven't been able to seal the deal. Unfortunately, it just isn't good enough.
What is hurting the No. 5 car the worst is having three other teammates who are already locked solidly in the Chase. The other somewhat salt in that wound is the other three don't have just single wins. They all have multiple wins.
The reality is the countdown clock is running faster than anyone wants it to. There are only six races left in our regular season before the Chase for the championship begins. The team has shown moments of brilliance. The good news is they are going back to Pocono where they won a year ago.
The bad news is they are going to have to get by all three of their teammates who all run really well at Pocono. Those three teams -- the No. 24, No. 48 and No. 88 -- will have something to say about whether the No. 5 gets into the Chase. Don't get me wrong; I'm not suggesting we are going to see any Richmond scenario hocus-pocus like we saw from a couple other organizations last September when it comes to getting the No. 5 in the Chase.
In addition to all that, there are about four or five other cars that have a really good chance of keeping the No. 5 from getting back to Victory Lane at Pocono this weekend. I'm talking about the Team Penske and Joe Gibbs Racing drivers. They all run really well there, plus Matt Kenseth in the No. 20 car needs a win just as bad as Kasey does.
Unfortunately, there are too many other drivers who are in the same boat as Kasey, and will be out for blood trying to get a win before the Chase begins after these next six races. So Kasey and that No. 5 bunch better put their work clothes on when they get to Pocono this weekend, because they have a pretty steep incline to overcome.